Talking to Your Parents About Senior Living
Your parents took great care of you, and now the roles are reversing. How do you tell mom and dad that moving to a senior community would improve the quality of their life and their health? How do you express your love and concern while saying something your loved one may not want to hear?
Prepare Yourself for “The Talk”
You’re reading this article, and that’s a great start, but it’s harder to advocate for senior living without first-hand knowledge. Give us a call. We’ll be happy to arrange a personal tour and share information about care and costs.
Get Siblings on Board
Some of your brothers and sisters might not have the same emotional resilience as you. That’s okay. They may be in denial about your parents aging and their health. Share what you’ve observed and why you’re concerned. While the ideal situation would be to present a united front, you might have to give them the option of participating only as much as they are comfortable doing. Invite them to tour our Tiffany Springs Senior Living community with you so they can experience the enriching lifestyle we have to offer.
Even if the family agrees that now is the time to make a move, decide whether to make this a group or private conversation. You wouldn’t want mom or dad to feel ambushed. Since you’ll probably have to talk to your parents multiple times about this topic, your siblings can choose other opportunities to broach the subject.
Find a Quiet Moment
Wait for a less stressful day in a place that feels peaceful and uninterrupted. HINT: Put away your phone.
Start with a Question
The first words are the hardest. Open-ended questions loosen things up and the answers are always enlightening.
- What are the things you’re having the most difficulty doing?
- Would you feel less stress if you didn’t have a home to worry about?
- What are the things that worry you most?
- Are there things you enjoyed doing but can’t do anymore?
- Do you feel lonely sometimes?
- What are your hopes for the future?
When you want to convince someone of something, active listening can be hard to do. Lean forward. Nod. Smile. Keep eye contact. When you’re tempted to interrupt, put your finger against your lips.
One effective technique is to paraphrase, repeating in your own words what your parent said to you. If you disagree, do your best to stay calm and logical to keep the conversation flowing.
Seniors mistakenly believe that moving to independent living, assisted living, or memory care will be the end of their independence. Nothing could be farther from the truth. At Tiffany Springs Senior Living, our residents’ days are full of choices – from their daily activities to their meal selections. Tell your parent that senior living is no longer the old folks home, and you can visit communities together to prove it.
Just like you did with your siblings, gently but honestly tell your parents the concerning things you’ve observed. No judging, no emotional language, just facts. If caregiving has been causing you stress as you try to balance your family and job, share that, too. We’ve found that after a parent moves into senior living and the responsibilities of day-to-day care have been lifted from adult children, relationships rekindle and blossom.
Be Patient, But…
Try not to wait for a health or life event to force the transition. Like everyone, seniors adjust best when they’re not undergoing a huge amount of stress.
We’re Here to Help
Because we’ve been working with seniors and their families for decades, feel free to talk to us any time. We can show your parent around the Tiffany Springs Senior Living Community, introduce them to our residents, and invite them (and you) for a meal or an event.